no A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
"Sceptics always raise one objection/' I murmured. "They always enquire how it is possible to live underground without breathing?"
"Take a simple case. The pearl-fishers off the coast of East Africa can stay under water without breathing for eight or nine minutes. That represents the highest record for normal human beings, as far as I know. Now turn to the animal kingdom. The frog is a rapid breather, yet it will remain under water without air for as long as-four hours. Hoy can it do that? Examine it and you will find its body rigid. In fact it is cataleptic. You will notice, too, that the eyes are closed, though not by the eyelids; by a special protective skin which wards off the danger of prolonged contact with the water. Take the water-turtle. It lives quite freely in the air and yet it, too, can spend several hours under water. If, however, you deprive a turtle of air and force it to remain under water against its will, it suffocates and dies. The reason is that it has not had time to prepare itself for its underwater experience. Crocodiles which have somewhat similar powers of living in both elements, hibernate without breathing during certain months of diminished vitality. Science can scarcely explain how these creatures can live without oxygen. Some kinds of bats, of course, provide well-known cases of winter hibernation . when they remain suspended without breathing.
"Let me tell you, at once, that the key to the incomprehensible performances of these animals is that they enter a state of special catalepsy. And, if the animals can do this, why not human beings, who, after all, possess animal bodies ? If human beings will apply this key they, too, can obtain the same results. This we fakirs have proved. Were I not in cataleptic trance during the experiment of being buried alive, I would be suffocated within ten minutes. There do exist circumstances in which we can live without breathing."
I watched him blow the grey smoke from his fragrant cigarette, and then I asked:
"If, as you say, during the period of burial the soul is detached from the body, does it enter the Beyond? And what can you tell us of your experiences in that sphere?"